Campbell River, British Columbia
We welcome a contributing columnist, Iain-Jamie Peterson.
Iain also writes for one of our local newspapers and has allowed us to reprint some of his writings here.

Caledonian Corner

Embracing the big “six-oh”

On Aug. 23 to be precise, my 60th birthday caught up with me.

I have no problems whatsoever with those birthdays that end with the number nine, but those ending with a zero
fill me with trepidation. However, the so-called big six-oh day surprised the hell out of me as I actually had
a wonderful day, a lot of good laughs and when all was said and done, probably the best birthday in my 60 years.

I usually manage two or three birthday cards but this year I received 10 and a high-tech e-mail from Brandon,
Manitoba. My younger brother actually had the nerve to insinuate in his card that given the choice of
(a) remaining glued to the TV watching soccer’s Match of the Day, or (b) joining a scantily clad young lady for a
frolic, I would go for (a). I might be glued but I’m not crazy!

The crew at the Campbell River Mirror really outdid themselves by signing a communal card. I especially enjoyed ego stroking comments like “you really look 45 to me.” Yeah that will be the day.

Birthday cards have come a long way over the years and I’m really glad those sugary ones of yesteryear have given way
to ones with a reasonable cutting edge.

On Thursday afternoon I received a knock on my calm door at Saratoga Beach Resort and somebody had managed to round
up a big bunch of kids to sing Happy Birthday and present me with a cluster of balloons to decorate the cabin door.

Thank goodness the greater majority even managed to sing in key and I think I pulled off not looking too embarrassed.

At 7 p.m., the very understated Daniel Rabu, from the Gourmet By The Sea, rolled into the resort driving a stretch Lincoln Town Car. A suitable libation on ice was served whilst that old prog-rock group Genesis pounded away on the stereo system.

It’s taken me 60 years to finally get a ride in one of these limo “battleships” and I wondered if I would be content with my Honda Civic after this.

Off to the Gourmet, and after a quick perusal of the menu, I decided to skip the appetizer so I could have room for one of the Gourmet’s decadent desserts.

A pepper steak given the “flame thrower” treatment by the table was truly delicious and for the first time ever, I ate my B.C. lumber, a.k.a. broccoli, by dousing it with the crushed peppercorn sauce.

Strawberries marinated in Grand Marnier finished the dining part and allowed me to relax on handy overstuffed cushions. Fortunately I was not serenaded with another rendition of Happy Birthday and a card at my table said it all:
“If you wind up at one of those restaurants where all the waiters gather around and sing “Happy Birthday,” remember it could be worse - you could be one of the waiters!”

From my working days at the Gourmet in the late 1980’s, it never failed whilst busy making a Caesar Salad, or a flambe dish at a customer’s table, a bus-boy would inform me that I was needed to sing Happy Birthday at another table. What the heck, I thought, I was meant to be a waiter not a would-be singer auditioning for the New York Met.

Thank you Daniel and Suzanne for a truly memorable evening. Being spoiled rotten for an evening is not so hard to take, because, after all, in my position it doesn’t exactly happen every day.

Besides, a birthday book given by the Gourmet to me would give me a quick reality check as it was entitled
‘The Worst-Case Scenarios Survival Handbook: Travel. Chapters cover Runaway Camels, Leeches, UFO Abductions and High-Rise Hotel Fires, and that’s got to be reality.

IAIN-JAMIE PATERSON


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